The latest attractions and hotels in Vancouver, British Columbia

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Parq Vancouver debuts spring 2017: Two hotel openings under one roof

Parq, an ‘urban resort’ with two hotels, is scheduled to open in Vancouver in the northern spring 2017 adjacent to BC Place Stadium. The $700-million-dollar Parq Vancouver complex features a JW Marriott hotel (Western Canada’s first); The Douglas (an Autograph Collection boutique hotel); eight diverse restaurants and lounges (inspired by two-time James Beard-Nominated Restaurateur Elizabeth Blau); a lush 2800-square-metre rooftop park (showcasing indigenous plants and a forest of native trees); gaming space; and 5800 square metres of meeting and event space (including the largest hotel ballroom in Vancouver). The complex will include 466 rooms and 51 suites (329 rooms at the JW Marriott and 188 rooms at The Douglas). Parq Vancouver is being built to LEED Gold-certified standards.

‘Dinner in the Sky’ comes to Vancouver in July 2017

Experiential dining has never been hotter, and Vancouver will see the trend taken to new heights – literally. Dinner in the Sky is a distinctive dining experience that lifts guests more than 45 metres off the ground for a sky-high feast that pairs decadent dishes with stunning views. The first “skydine” took place in Belgium, and since then the event has been hosted in more than 40 countries around the world. Vancouver’s stunning surroundings proved a natural fit as a new destination in which to host this Instagram-worthy event, which dishes up courses inspired by the most recent culinary trends. Each seating lasts one hour with a maximum of 22 people accommodated per event. Visitors and locals can hop aboard Dinner in the Sky until 31 July 2017. Tickets start at $296 per person for lunch or brunch (two-course meal, champagne/mimosa and a starter), and extend to $917 per person for a first-class experience (five-course meal, raw bar, champagne, wine, a video and photo, pickup service and more).

YVR named top airport in North America for a record-breaking 8th year in a row

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was voted Best Airport in North America for the eighth consecutive year at the Skytrax World Airport Awards. Recognised as the global benchmark of airport excellence, Skytrax surveyed over 13.8 million passengers at 550 airports around the world on elements in the airport travel experience, ranging from check-in to security and border clearance processes, comfort, efficiency, signage, transportation availability, passenger amenities and friendliness. YVR is the first and only airport to receive this top accolade for eight consecutive years.

Canada 150 events throughout the year in Vancouver

Check Tourism Vancouver’s Canada’s 150 webpage for the most up-to-date list of what’s happening for Canada 150 in Vancouver.

  • Canadians have 12 more beertastic reasons to celebrate Canada’s 150th with Central City Brewers + Distillers announcing a country-wide collaboration with breweries from all 12 provinces.
  • Originally created in 2001 by Monster Theatre, The Canada Show toured almost non-stop for 10 years, and in 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary will bring the show out of retirement. Featuring brand-new material, three comedic historians attempt to jam 15,000 years of Canadian history into one whirlwind hour.
  • Timber Restaurant’s Long Table Canadian Supper is the perfect way to celebrate Canada’s 150th. Intended for groups (min 15 people), the experience features a family-style dinner with cribbage boards, a Canadian-themed photo booth, make-‘em-yourself s’mores at the Timber campfire and a gift bag.
  • Commemorate Canada’s 150th with a new feature exhibit at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. As with most Parks Canada sites throughout the country, regular admission will be free throughout 2017.
  • The Loden wants to give visitors the freedom to explore more of Canada – all by virtual reality. The package includes tickets to FlyOver Canada, a virtual flight ride across Canada that explores more than 6000 km from coast-to-coast – all while never leaving Vancouver.

Rugby Sevens and NCAA Basketball now annual fixtures in Vancouver

  • With much anticipation, Rugby Sevens returned to Vancouver in March 2017. The world’s top rugby teams took Vancouver by storm during the HSBC World Rugby Seven Series Tournament at BC Place Stadium, and revellers celebrated at a free street festival in downtown Vancouver. The event will be back in 2018.
  • Premier basketball is back in Vancouver! Starting November 2017 and thereafter, eight men’s and eight women’s NCAA basketball teams will descend upon the 2010 Olympic Host City during the American Thanksgiving holiday week. During this week, National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played back-to-back under the sails of the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Neighbourhood Spotlight: 5 things to do on Commercial Drive

Commercial Drive, or “The Drive”, is a diverse neighbourhood home to a colourful mix of hippies, immigrants and families. Back in the late 1800s, the area was a thoroughfare used for logging, with shops springing up along Commercial as the surrounding area became residential. Subsequent waves of immigrants after the two world wars, many from Italy and Southern Europe, contributed to The Drive’s current character. The 21 blocks of Commercial Drive from Venables at the north end, to 13th Avenue at the south, are home to the most eclectic mix of businesses in the city. Of the more than 400 businesses on The Drive, the majority are single location, owner-operated, making dining experiences, produce, entertainment and services completely unique. Here are five things to do on the Drive:

  • Indulge in Italian fare. Also known as “Little Italy”, The Drive is home to plenty of espresso bars, gelato stops, pasta palaces and wood-fired pizza joints. Don’t miss Italian delicatessen La Grotta Del Formaggio for panini and artisanal gourmet goods. Buon appetito!
  • Grab a pint. The Drive is perfect for beer lovers: you’ll find tap houses specialising in both local and European brews, neighbourhood pubs for laid-back beer, and even a number of craft breweries within walking distance. Pull up a stool at BierCraft, featuring over 100 Belgian and craft beers in the bottle and on tap.
  • Ride the caffeine buzz. Commercial Drive is known for its quirky cafes and seriously good coffee. Grab a cup of smooth Italian coffee at Café Calabria and admire the Roman statue decor, or pop into cosy and funky Turks Coffee Bar, one of the first indie coffee shops on The Drive.
  • Shop unique imports and local designs. There’s a distinctly bohemian air to The Drive, and fittingly, visitors will find plenty of places to buy beaded curtains, bongo drums, incense and carvings imported from South East Asia. Many of the other stores are hyper-local, making it a good place to pick up clothing and art from Vancouver designers and craftspeople as souvenirs.
  • Take a walk in the park. At the south end of the neighbourhood is John Hendry Park, which surrounds Trout Lake. On Saturdays from May through to October, the park is home to an excellent farmer’s market – the perfect place to grab a light breakfast while browsing the stalls. At the north end, there is Grandview Park. Known for its seemingly constant drum circles, the park is always bursting with activity and is a popular site for plays, concerts and festivals.

Three new water adventures in Vancouver this northern summer

Surrounded by the ocean, the port-city of Vancouver offers all sorts of water adventures, from relaxing cruises to energising paddles. Check out these three new ocean tours:

  • Deep Cove Kayak’s Friday Night Lights Tour: Experience Indian Arm after dark. Paddle into the tranquil waters of the Arm at dusk in a well-illuminated kayak on this 2.5-hour guided tour. Experienced guides share stories about wildlife and First Nations history. Lucky kayakers might see the magical bioluminescence glowing in the water. This tour runs Friday nights, 9-11:30pm until 1 September 2017.
  • Pacific Ferries’ Howe Sound Day Excursion: Take in stunning natural scenery and explore coastal living. Board the boat in downtown Vancouver then cruise along the West Vancouver shoreline and into the breathtaking and scenic Howe Sound. Enjoy stops at the quaint seaside towns of Gibsons Landing (Sunshine Coast) and Snug Cove (Bowen Island). On the way back, pull up crab traps for fresh crab. Offered seven days a week, until 15 September 2017.
  • Vancouver Water Adventures’ City & Seal Tour: From cityscapes to Seal Island, this tour brings urban adventure and wildlife together. Zip along the coastline of English Bay, out to Lighthouse park, over to the Seal Colony at Pam Rocks and back into False Creek in a 9-metreZodiac that travels up to 80 km/h. Visitors will see Stanley Park, English Bay Beach, Lions Gate Bridge, the beautiful homes of West Vancouver and much more. This tour has been running seven days a week since 1 May 2017.

UNINTERRUPTED brings a wild salmon-bearing river to the heart of Vancouver

This northern summer, a cinematic spectacle called UNINTERRUPTED will bring a wild salmon-bearing river right into the heart of downtown Vancouver. UNINTERRUPTED premiered on 28 June and is part of Vancouver’s celebration of Canada 150+. Taking place in Coopers Park, under the north end of the Cambie Street Bridge, spectators will find themselves immersed in the extraordinary journey of migrating Pacific salmon. A blend of cinematic storytelling and high-tech art installation, the 25-minute piece is achieved with original cinematography digitally mapped and projected onto the bridge. A soundscape accompanies the projected images, uniting an originally composed score with audio from the natural landscape.  A Canada Wild production, UNINTERRUPTED was conceived by acclaimed Vancouver director Nettie Wild, who was inspired by a visit to B.C’s Adams River during a peak salmon run. The free show takes place five nights a week until 24 September 2017, starting at dusk and can accommodate approximately 800 people.

Britannia Mine Museum to get a $4.2 million upgrade

The Britannia Mine Museum is getting $4.2 million dollars in funding from the Government of Canada and the mining industry towards the rehabilitation of the Mill Building (a National Historic Site) and several other historic buildings that support the Museum’s popular education and tourism programmes. The funding will enable the museum to add an immersive multimedia Mill Show attraction that will tell the story of the the Mill when it was fully operational from the 1920s until its closing in 1974. The new Mill Show will open in the northern summer of 2019. One of the last gravity-fed concentrator mills left in North America, the 20-storey Mill Building is an feature that many recognise as they drive along the Sea-to-Sky highway. The Mill literally “rocked and rolled” in its heyday as it received raw ore from 200km of underground tunnels and produced copper and zinc concentrates to be shipped offshore for processing into metals. The Britannia Mine was the largest copper producer in the British Commonwealth in the late 1920s. The Britannia Mine Museum is open seven days a week all year round from 9am to 5pm with guided tours throughout the day.

Vancouver’s most popular annual festivals and events

January/February: Dine Out Vancouver Festival (largest restaurant fest. in Canada)

February: Vancouver International Wine Festival

March: HSBC Canada Sevens Vancouver Rugby

March/April: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

April: Vancouver Sun Run

March/April: TED Conference

May/June: Vancouver International Children’s Festival

June – Sept: Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

June/July: Vancouver International Jazz Festival

July: Vancouver Folk Music Festival

July/August: Honda Celebration of Light Fireworks Festival

August: Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival

August: Sea Wheeze Half Marathon & Sunrise Festival

September: RBC GranFondo Whistler

December: New Year’s Eve Celebrationback

 

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